Hope for Cleveland Browns Fans: A (Very) Creative Writing Assignment

**This post originally appeared on December 11, 2015 when it seemed as though things could not get worse for my beloved Browns. But they did. As the Super Bowl approaches, it's time to bring it back. This is an optional … [Read more...]

11 Writing Prompts for High School That Will Actually Inspire Kids to Write

I had just assigned the Greatest Creative Writing Assignment EVER!!!!!!!!!!! I was feeling really good about myself. I even painted a picture of my face on the William Shakespeare statue in the cafeteria. Then the next day … [Read more...]

Lesson Plans for The Odyssey: Day One

Teaching The Odyssey brings much joy to my heart. In addition to being a great story, it also signals the end of another school year. I've been teaching Homer's epic for more than a decade. That's anywhere from 3-6 periods … [Read more...]

Types of Essays for High School Students and Teachers

I recently received a letter from a former student. I'll reprint it here without his permission, but I'm sure he won't mind. Dear former teacher: You were one of my six favorite teachers my freshman year of high school. I … [Read more...]

Universal Rubric for Literary Analysis

I had collected the essays a few weeks prior. They lay on my desk...ungraded. The dark cloud of ungraded essays cast a shadow over my soul. I sat down at my desk. I "accidentally" nudged them toward the edge of my desk, just … [Read more...]

Getting Comfortable with Timed Essays: Tips for Timed Writing

My mind raced as I stared at the blank page in front of me. I raised my hand, "Mr. Pontoon, I'm feeling sick. Can I go to the nurse?" "No," he replied abruptly. "Darn!" I thought, "I just wasted 15 seconds with that ploy, … [Read more...]

Human Rights Lesson Plan for Night

I usually begin my posts with an attempt at humor. Night does not lend itself to humor. I will, therefore, forego my humor attempt and head straight to this human rights lesson plan for Night. Let's start with the graphic … [Read more...]

Great Essay Topic: Which Literary Character Would Win a Hunger Games Fight to the Death?

I just read "The Lottery" for the first time in over 30 years. As with most things from my youth, it was a lot better in my youth. And like most things as an adult, it gave me a great essay topic. But before we get to the … [Read more...]

Why Wikipedia is not a Valid Research Paper Resource

Look, I'm not one of those Wikipedia haters. For regular folk like me looking for regular information as a starting point, Wikipedia's not bad. It should not, however, be taken for a reputable source when it comes to serious … [Read more...]

5 Yogi Berra Quotes for the ELA Classroom

Yogi Berra turned 90 yesterday. For those of you who don't know who Yogi Berra is, I don't have time to explain. What I do have time to explain is related lesson plans. Making decisions. I like to bust out a decision making … [Read more...]